Dragon Age: Why You Should Be A Fan of the Franchise

This fall, BioWare is releasing the highly anticipated third game in the Dragon Age franchise.

imagesWhat’s Dragon Age, you say?

Shut the front door. Seriously, drop whatever you’re multi-tasking right now and let’s talk business because if you haven’t heard about this franchise yet, then it’s time you received a little geek-ucation. If you’re into Skyrim or The Lord of the Rings, then you will probably enjoy playing these games. And lucky you, the (hopefully) best one of the bunch is coming out in just a few months so you don’t have to wait years in between like others.

About a year ago, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. I decided that since I hadn’t had free time in pretty much the last three years that I was going to enjoy my new schedule and veg out with a video game just like those glorious days in high school and college. Enter Dragon Age: Origins. My husband first played DA:O when it came out in 2009. I remember seeing it advertised at GenCon but I just didn’t like what I saw of the game when he played. So when I found myself glancing over the game titles on the shelf, my hand stopped over Dragon Age and I decided to give it a try. After all, I love high fantasy and anything that involves me playing a girl who can kick ass and fall in love – well hey, I’m there.

The best way to explain my Dragon Age experience is consuming. Now that I’ve played through Mass Effect, I can safely say it’s not as life-altering, but it had me hung up for quite a long time after playing. I wanted to play for 60 hours straight, over and over again. If you haven’t picked up Dragon Age: Origins yet, then you need to get your butt to the game store and do it. It’s not expensive and it will be a really fun experience.

But this article isn’t about my adventures as a Grey Warden or accepting garden plants from a bumbling knight. It’s about why you should become a fan if, Maker forbid, you aren’t already.

Uh, it’s BioWare.

If you’ve played through any of BioWare’s games, then you know that one thing they do not sell short on is quality. Sure, they might have some game mechanic issues and we won’t really talk a lot about Dragon Age II, but for the most part, BioWare provides some of the most solid gaming experiences out there. If you haven’t already, go play Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (it’s an older game so don’t start on the graphics; it’s still fun to play!) or the Mass Effect series. Their games are able to capture you and for most, cause you to invest personal emotions into your main character, his/her companions, and the story itself. Besides that part, the games have intriguing environments, world-affecting decisions, and some of the funniest one-liners I’ve heard.

Merrill_AcceptanceThey know how to manipulate your emotions and it feels oh, so good.

This was the case with my Warden. She was a bad-ass warrior redhead with snarky retorts and just a touch of hero. (I am beginning to see a trend here.) She was as much a savant on the battlefield as she was in the court, and did I mention she had a dog as a companion? I mean, it’s like BioWare wrote the game for me. I really loved that character and as we went through the storyline of DA:O, I was fully invested in her decisions affecting the people around her and the world as a whole. I won’t go into the story too much because I’m not about spoiling things if you haven’t played, but it’s an absolutely fantastic story. And ladies, you will regret not meeting Alistair if you fail to play this game. Trust me.

The greatest part about DA:O is the ability to customize the game and have a unique gameplay experience multiple times. For instance, you can play as a dwarf, a rich human, a poor elf, a creepy wood elf, or a magic-using human. You get to choose different classes and the face is extremely customizable. The fact that you get to create a completely unique character in each of these games is one of the best features.

Dat theming, doe!

A lot of what I loved about the first game was taken away with Dragon Age II. DA:O forces the player to travel around Fereldan, experiencing a vast range of cultures that are each so beautifully unique that you just want to keep discovering more. DAII finds the player in a place called Kirkwall with a completely different character who is basically stuck in that area for what seems like forever. DAII feels very stifling and I will be honest, I put the game down after my first hour because I was so culture-shocked by the changes between the two games. But, I’m really happy that a month later, I picked the game back up and got through it and about 5 hours in, I really loved it. The romance options were a bit crazier (Seriously, get Anders some help) than the first game, but my little heart wept and pitter-pattered all over the living room. The character interactions were just as rewarding. The voice acting was still f-cking phenomenal. And they even threw in a few bones for those DA:O junkies throughout the game.

The best is yet to come …

But what’s so exciting about the Dragon Age franchise is this new game because not only does it continue to expand upon, what I think, is a fantastic story arc, but it’s the theoretical perfect spawn of what worked well for its predecessors and the feedback BioWare received after DAII caused such a stir. Dragon Age: Inquisition promises to continue the storyline and create an entirely new, enriched experience for DA fans. We’re talking huge, expansive worlds with all kinds of monsters and magical relics to discover. There are areas where you could venture upon a monster so much stronger than you that you better immediately practice your agility skills and hope you survive as you run away screaming. Today they released a video of in-game footage that basically resorted in my jaw finding a new residence on the floor of my office. Seriously, I don’t think I closed my mouth the entire time – it’s that awesome. Forget the same amazing writing. Forget awesome voice actors. The graphics alone from the next-gen engines make this game a “must buy” on my list. And seriously, if you haven’t picked up Dragon Age yet, GO DO IT NOW. Game-binge before it releases and enjoy the ride.

But before you do, check out this amazing footage from Inquisition. Fancy parties, guys. FANCY PARTIES.

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